Thursday 25 July 2024

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Infrastructure | Power

Goa to experiment with one mini power project


The Goa government has decided to set up only one small private power project, among the five places for which competitive bids were invited. It would also hand over responsibility of transmission and distribution to it at a later stage.

The first preference has been thus given to the Mormugao taluka, having a port town, which would be provided with the "quality power" at higher rates. With the power requirement of around 40 MW, the taluka also consists of Zuari Agro Chemicals Ltd (ZACL), Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL) and the Verna electronic city besides several small shipyards and industries.

Industries Minister Mauvin Godinho, though declined to name the firms being shortlisted, categorically stated that he has selected only one of the five sites, for which bids were invited.

The pilot project would come up at Verna, where the state's electronic city is being set up. With several multinationals especially in the field of electronics and pharmaceuticals moving in at Verna, the government is presently going for the third expansion of this major industrial estate.

Meanwhile, the state authorities here have shortlisted three private firms - Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), Tata Electric Companies (TEC) and DLF Industries - among the 12 bids they received. They believed to have quoted tariff between Rs 2.03 to Rs 2.14 for open cycle technology. For the combined cycle however they quote rates between Rs 1.87 to Rs 2.03.

The CRISIL, an experts agency, is presently studying its technical reports applying the parameters of tariff rates, technical expertise, financial capacity, fuel management in terms of importing naphtha as well as the experience in the field.

Though RIL is the lowest bidder, Godinho says the possibility of denying chance to the lowest bidder cannot be ruled out if it can't fulfil all the criteria applied by the government. "Much would also depend upon negotiations", he said.

He plans to initially begin with an open cycle technology, generating around 40 MW of power. The same would be then converted into combined cycle, generating around 60 MW of power.

The Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for 10 years would be signed with one of it by mid-July, after negotiations are held with the qualified firms amongst them. The CRISIL is expected to submit its report to the government by mid-June, after which the negotiations would begin.

Godinho clearly stated that the PPA would have a clause for the private firm also to take up the transmission and distribution of power for the whole taluka at later stage, for which the government was prepared to loose the amount of revenue it would receive from the private power generating firm.

"But the private firm will have to build its own distribution network for it, if needed, while we will have total control over the tariff to be charged", he said.

He however also admits that not only the industries but even the domestic consumers will have to pay much more than what they are paying now for the "quality power". The existing tariff rates for the domestic users are almost half of what is being proposed by the private firms. The possibility of public protests over the issue thus cannot be ruled out.

Goa is presently dependent entirely on the National Power Grid with around 380 MW of power being allotted from Karnataka and Maharashtra. But it is unable to transmit more than 180 MW due to lack of infrastructure for transmission as well as distribution.

Its T & D losses are over 25 per cent, highest in the country, while the commercial losses also amount upto 12 per cent. Instead of increasing its transmission capacity and improvising the distribution network, the state government however has decided to go for privatisation.

The tourist state, declared as industrially backward with several tempting incentives including the five-year tax holiday, thus cannot cope up with the increasing demand from the MNCs and its ancillaries due to power shortage.

According to Industries Minister Luizinho Faleiro, total 6499 units including 90 large scale ones, are in the pipeline with an investment of around Rs 800 billion. But he seems to be least bothered about the power requirement and is clearing the projects, giving empty promises to the investors.

Though he did not wish to blame his cabinet colleague, the power minister admitted that the present requirement has increased to 210 MW, with a shortfall of around 30 MW. The load shedding at peak hours is thus affecting both the industrial sector as well as the layman while regular voltage problem has been the prime irritation for any industry to run in the state.

According to Godinho, the thermal power project would be a big relief for the industrialists willing to come to Goa, especially in the field of electronics. The government is also planning to commission a 110 KV sub-station at Verna by September, to utilise the power supplied from the national grid.

The remaining four sites selected for the private power projects however would be considered only after assessing the success of the Verna project, he added. is now on Telegram & also Youtube. Kindly subscribe for free & remain updated.

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Onkar , Navelim




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